Getting a job in accounting can be challenging, particularly if you don't have the skills and experience needed. But accountants are usually in high demand, with an abundance of jobs available. According to the United States Department of Labor, employment in the accounting field is expected to grow 18% from 2006 to 2016. Your level of education will play a major role in your ability to get an accounting job.
Determine what type of accounting job best suits your career aspirations. Accounting offers you career options such as forensic accounting or auditing. Decide if you want to pursue a job in public accounting, where you can land a job working for major accounting firms like Ernst & Young, or work for companies in the private sector.
Assess if you have enough education and experience to get the accounting job you want. Most accounting jobs require a bachelor's degree. Some accounting positions, like spots as certified public accountants, require a master's degree and 150 hours of coursework. In some instances, potential employers may require a high level of education and a fair amount of work experience.
Try an internship or volunteer work. As an accounting major, your university may require you to get an internship with an accounting firm or private company. Use this opportunity to gain work experience and further your knowledge of the accounting discipline. In some cases, if you show an adequate level of proficiency, the company where you work as an intern may hire you as a permanent employee after you graduate.
If you're not fortunate enough to gain an internship, go the volunteer route. Target a company or accounting firm you'd like to work for, then volunteer your time. Explain that you're willing to work for free in exchange for the experience. At the end of your volunteer period, obtain a letter of recommendation or a reference letter from your supervisor.
Try websites like jobs4accounting.com and volunteermatch.org to find companies who seek accounting volunteers.
Sign up with temporary placement agencies. Use temp agencies, like Accountemps, that have a significant amount of accounting assignments. You'll be required to take several accounting tests to help assess your skill level. In addition, be prepared to indicate career goals, and salary requirements during an interview. This will help the temporary agency place you in an accounting job that you will like. In certain instances, a temporary accounting assignment may last for months, or turn into a permanent job.
Check on various accounting forums such as accounting.com for job postings. Also, register with websites like Careerbuilder.com and Monster.com which have extensive listings for employers offering accounting jobs. Post your updated resume online for potential employers to view. Be sure to include special awards or certificates you may hold in accounting.
Use your professional affiliations and memberships to network with potential employers. For example, if you belong of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, you may meet accountants and business owners who may want to hire you.
If you choose accounting as a course of study, you should prepare by taking algebra and calculus in high school. In your freshman and sophomore years of college, you'll take core level courses like Accounting I and Accounting II. During this time, take business statistics and college algebra to fulfill your mathematics requirements.
Once in your upper level courses, which occur at the junior and senior level, you'll take classes like financial accounting, managerial accounting, tax accounting and auditing. Most students can complete a B.S. in accounting at a major university in 4 to 5 years.